Survival Dictionary

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are 120 names in this directory beginning with the letter M.
MacGyver
To improvise, using available materials.

Machete
A short sword used to cut through dense rain forest, the undergrowth. The blade is typically 12 to 18 inches long and has a handle.

Mae West
Second World War life jacket named after the 1930s actress Mae West, well known for her large bosom.

Maelstrom
A powerful whirlpool in the sea.

Mag Bar
Magnesium is highly flammable making it a convenient fire starter. When shaved into powder it catches easily. Once ignited it is difficult to extinguish since the chemical reactions that follow ignition makes it a self feeding fire. Flame temperature can exceed 3,000°C.

Maggot
The larva of a houseflies. They have been used in fishing as bait and to treat non-healing wounds. In addition to containing various amounts of fatty acids, amino acids, protein, fat and energy content, maggots provide a whopping 2,010mg of calcium, 1,320mg of phosphorous, and 60gm of iron, 24gm of zinc per 100gm making for great survival food.

Maglite
Proprietary brand of flashlight with a machined aluminium casing.

Magnetic Declination
The angle formed between the direction pointing to True North and Magnetic North.

Magnetic Deviation
It is the deviation error by compasses when there is environmental interference due to objects that affect its accuracy.

Magnetic North
The geographical region towards which all magnetic needles point. This is the direction the “N” on the compass points to.

Magnetosphere
The Earth behaves like a huge magnet trapping electrons and protons and concentrating them in two bands about 3,000 and 16,000km above the globe. This outer region surrounding the earth, where charged particles spiral along the magnetic field lines is called the magnetosphere.

Magnifying Glass
Convex lens to produce a magnified image of an object when viewed through the glass. It is also used to concentrate the rays of the Sun into the focal point and thus start fires.

Mainstay
A very important part of something or someone that provides support and makes it possible for something to exist or succeed. Evolved from mainstay of a ship that extends from the main-top to the foot of the foremast.

Malacology
The scientific study of molluscs.

Malnutrition
Results from a diet with either tool little or too much nutrients thus causing health problems. Not enough nutrients is called undernutrition or undernourishment while too much is called overnutrition.

Man made Disaster
Contrasted with natural hazards, man made disasters are caused by human action or inaction that may adversely affect humans, other organisms, biomes and ecosystems. There are certain societal hazards that can occur by inadvertently overlooking a hazard, a failure to notice or by purposeful intent by human inaction or neglect. Criminal behaviour, civil disorider, terrorism, war, industrial and engineering hazards, waste disposal, power outage, fire, hazardous material disposal, transportation related accidents, etc are examples of human induced or man made disasters. These can also be termed anthropogenic hazards.

Man Overboard
Emergency call alerting the crew that someone has gone overboard and must be rescued.

Mangroves
The only trees that grow in salt water to protect tropical coastlines from storm surges.

Manifest
Document listing the cargo, passengers, and crew.

Manila Rope
Rope made from manila hemp, a type of fibre obtained from the leaves of the abacá. The name refers to the capital of the Philippines, one of the main producers of abacá. Manila rope is durable, flexible and resistant to salt water damage (though will rot in time when exposed to saltwater), allowing its use in rope, hawsers, ships’ lines, fishing nets, etc. It can be used to make handcrafts like bags, carpets, clothing, furniture, and hangings. Manila ropes shrink when wet making it useful under certain circumstances. Many knots made with manila rope are more difficult to untie when wet.

Manrope
Rope used as a handrail on a ship.

Map Projection
A systematic transformation of the latitudes and longitudes of locations from the surface of a sphere or an ellipsoid into locations on a plane. Maps cannot be created without map projections. All map projections necessarily distort the surface in some fashion. Depending on the purpose of the map, some distortions are acceptable and others are not.

Mapping GPS
A global positioning system that is specifically designed for creating maps and tracks.

Marasmus
A starvation related condition that happens due to extreme energy deficiency, often from inadequate amounts of calories and protein. The person's body weight reaches dangerously low levels and infections are common.

Mariculture
Aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats.

Marina
Docking facility for small ships and yachts.

Marine GPS
A global positioning system specifically designed for use in marine environments.

Marine Terrace
A relatively flat, horizontal or gently inclined surface of marine origin, mostly an old abrasion platform which has been lifted out of the sphere of wave activity. It lies above or under the current sea level, depending on the time of its formation. It is bounded by a steeper ascending slope on the landward side and a steeper descending slope on the seaward side.

Marine VHF Radio
Refers to radio frequency range between 156.0 and 162.025 MHz. In the official language of the International Telecommunication Union it is called the VHF maritime mobile band.

Mariner
A sailor.

Mariner’s Astrolabe
An inclinometer to determine the latitude of a ship at sea by measuring the sun’s noon altitude or the meridian altitude of a star of known declination. Not an astrolabe proper, it is a graduated circle with an alidade used to measure vertical angles. They were designed to allow for their use on boats in rough water and/or in heavy winds, which astrolabes are ill equipped to handle.

Maritime Climate
Influenced by an oceanic environment like islands and coastal regions. Temperature ranges are slight and relative humidity is high.

Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI):
A series of nine digits sent digitally over a radio frequency channel to uniquely identify ship stations, ship earth stations, coast stations, coast earth stations, and group calls. These identities are formed in such a way that the identity or part thereof can be used by subscribers connected to the telecommunications network to call ships automatically.

Marlinspike
Tool used in ropework.

Marmite
Traditional crockery casserole found in France known for its “pot-belly” shape.

MARPAT
Short for Marine pattern, it is a digital camouflage pattern in use with uniforms of the United States Marine Corps. The pattern is formed of small rectangular pixels of colour mimicking the textures and boundaries of natural surroundings.

Marsh
Fresh, brackish or saltwater wetland that is found along rivers, pond, lakes and coasts.

Martial Law
The imposition of the military as head of Government. However, in SHTF times, the Government itself might invite the military to assist in maintaining law and order, public utilities, etc. Usually, civil rights and liberties are curtailed during periods of Martial Law.

Match
A tool for starting fires. Typically made out of wood (packaged in matchboxes) or thick, stiff paper (packaged in matchbooks). One end of the match, the head, is coated with a material that ignites when rubbed against a suitable surface. Mainly they are two kinds - safety matches and strike anywhere matches.

Mattock
A versatile hand tool used for digging and chopping, similar to the pickaxe. It has a long handle, and a stout head, which combines an axe blade and an adze or a pick and an adze.

Matzo
An unleavened flatbread that is part of Jewish cuisine and forms an integral element of the Passover festival made from flour and water. The flour may be whole grain or processed grain, but must be either wheat, spelt, barley, rye or oat.

Mayday
Used to signal a life-threatening emergency by aviators and mariners. The call is always given three times in a row to prevent being mistaken for some similar-sounding phrase.

MCE
Mass Casualty Event.

Mean Sea Level (MSL)
An average level of the surface of one or more of Earth’s oceans from which elevations may be measured. MSL is a type of vertical datum used as a chart datum in cartography and marine navigation or in aviation, as the standard sea level at which atmospheric pressure is measured to calibrate altitude and consequently aircraft flight levels. A common and relatively straightforward mean sea-level standard is the midpoint between a mean low and mean high tide at a particular location. Sea levels can be affected by many factors and are known to have varied greatly over geological time scales. The careful measurement of variations in MSL can offer insights into ongoing climate change and sea level rise has been widely quoted as evidence of ongoing global warming.

Mean Solar Time
The hour angle of the mean Sun plus 12 hours. Duration of daylight varies during the year but the length of a mean solar day is nearly constant, unlike that of an apparent solar day which can be 20 seconds shorter or 30 seconds longer than a mean solar day. Long or short days occur in succession, so the difference builds up until mean time is ahead of apparent time by about 14 minutes near Feb 6 and behind apparent time by about 16 minutes near Nov 3. The length of mean solar day is slowly increasing due to the tidal acceleration of the Moon by the Earth and the corresponding slowing of Earth’s rotation by the Moon.

MEDEVAC
Evacuation due to a medical emergency.

Mediterranean Climate
Moist, mild winters and hot, dry summers.

Meltdown
An accident in which the core of a nuclear reactor melts and releases radiation. It can also mean a very fast collapse or failure or a very fast loss of emotional self-control.

Mercator Projection
A cylindrical map projection presented by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It became the standard map projection for nautical purposes because of its ability to represent lines of constant course, known as rhumb lines or loxodromes, as straight segments that conserve the angles with the meridians. Although the linear scale is equal in all directions around any point, thus preserving the angles and the shapes of small objects, the Mercator projection distorts the size of objects as the latitude increases from the Equator to the Poles. Landmasses such as Greenland and Antarctica appear much larger than they actually are relative to land masses near the equator, such as Central Africa.

Mercurt
God of the roadways, travellers, merchants ... and thieves, in Roman mythology.

Merging Currents
A spot of calm water created where two currents come together.

Meridian
A meridian or line of longitude is one half of an imaginary circle on the Earth’s surface, terminated by the North and South Poles. The Meridian that passes through 0° longitude is known as the Prime Meridian.

Mermite Can
Insulated aluminum canister with a rubber gasket at the top, containing three sub-containers with lids used to transport meals to troops in the field.

Mesosphere
The region above the stratosphere. Temperature decreases with height, reaching a minimum of about -90°C at the mesopause.

Mess Tin
Part of cooking utensils for the military and for campers, it can be used for boiling or for cooking.

Metacentre
Midway point between a vessel’s centre of buoyancy when upright and her centre of buoyancy when tilted.

Meteor
When a comet, asteroid or meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed typically in excess of 72,000 kmph, heating produces a streak of light, both from the glowing object and the trail of glowing particles in its wake. This is a meteor or shooting star.

Meteor Shower
A series of meteors appearing seconds or minutes apart and appearing to originate from the same fixed point in the sky.

Meteorite
If a meteor withstands heating from its passage through the atmosphere and impacts with the ground, it is called a meteorite.

Meteoroid
Meteoroid Small rocky or metallic body travelling through outer space. They are significantly smaller than asteroids, and grain sized to a meter wide. Smaller objects are called micrometeoroids or space dust. Most are fragments from comets or asteroids, others are impact debris from bodies such as the Moon or Mars.

Metonic Cycle
A period of roughly 19 years when the full moon occurs on the same day of the year.

Metric Properties of Maps
Many properties can be measured on the Earth’s surface independent of its geography, like area, shape, direction, bearing, distance, scale, etc. Map projections preserve at least one of these properties, though only in a limited way for most. The purpose of the map determines which projection should form the base for the map, therefore a diversity of projections have been created to suit those purposes.

MFR
Medical First Response.

MFWIC
Mother Fucker Who’s In Charge.

Micronutrients
Essential vitamins and minerals to keep the body nourished and in good shape.

Microorganisms
Also called microbes. Very tiny life forms such as bacteria, algae, diatoms, parasites, plankton, and fungi. Some can cause disease.

Mikes
Minutes, from the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Mil
Short for milliradians, it is an angular unit of measure that equals one yard at 1000 yards and 1 meter at 1000 meters.

Mil Spec
Also called Military Standard or Mil-Std, it is the standards set by the US Department of Defense for gear and equipment.

Millipede
Anthropods containing two pairs of legs per body segment instead on one pair for centipedes. They do not bite but secrete juices that can cause skin irritation. They are not considered edible by humans.

Milsurp
Military Surplus.

Mineral Water
Water from within a spring containing various salts and other minerals making it good drinking water. No minerals may be added. Unlike in the olden days when people travelled to the source, now mineral water is bottled and sold through stores.

Minerva
Goddess of war, wisdom and useful arts in Roman mythology.

Minimus
The tiny toe or finger.

Mirage
A naturally occurring optical phenomenon that refracts light to produce displaced images of distant objects. Unlike a hallucination, mirages are real. Often mirages are visible on hot days with the illusion of a distant pool of water.

Mire
Same as quagmire, a kind of wetland.

Misplaced Loyalty
Loyalty placed in other people or organisations where it is rither not acknowledged or respected, or is betrayed or taken advantage of. It can also mean loyalty to a malignant or misguided cause.

Mist
Caused by small droplets of water suspended in air, seen where warm, moist air meets sudden cooling. Often created artificially, it can be part of natural weather, when humid air cools rapidly.

MMFD
Miles and Miles of Fucking Desert.

MNI
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Many”

Moat
A deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, surrounding a castle, fortification, building or town, to provide it with a preliminary line of defense. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defenses, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices.

Moccasin
Outdoor slipper, made of soft leather, comprising a sole, and sides made of one piece of leather, stitched at the top. It is the footwear of many indigenous people of North America.

Mojo
Originally means a charm carried in a bag, but now it is commonly used to depict self confidence, sex appeal or talent. Often “magic” can replace the term mojo.

MOLLE
Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment replaces the ALICE system with a row of stitched webbings to allow attachments.

Molluscs
Sea creatures like oysters, scallops, mussels, snails, squid, octopuses. Around 85,000 extant species are recognised, comprising about 23% of all the named marine organisms. Snails and slugs account for 80% of the total.

Monkey
A primate with a small brain size and shorter structure compared to apes. They walk on four legs and use the tail as a fifth limb to help grasp limbs in trees. There are hundreds of species.

Monkey Butt
Rash or other anal condition caused by less than sanitary field conditions.

Monkey Crawl
Traversing a horizontal rope to cross a chasm. The British and American Monkey Crawl differ in the position of the person. In the British Monkey Crawl the person is positioned on top of the rope while in the American Monkey Crawl the person hangs from under the rope.

Monkey Fist
Knot tied in a rope useful for handling it.

Monkey Shit
Type of duct seal that is pliable and waterproof.

Monocular
It is an optical device comprising one telescope, to be used using one eye to magnify distant objects.

Monofilament
Almost invisible nylon line that absorbs water thus loosening knots. It has a ‘memory’ so that it tends to come off the reel in coils.

Monopod
Also called a Unipod, it is a single length of pole to support things like cameras, binoculars, rifles, etc.

Monsoon
A persistent seasonal wind responsible for seasonal precipitation.

Moon Phases
Also called lunar phases, it describes the shape of the illuminated portion of the Moon as seen from Earth due to changing positions of the Moon and Sun and varies from full moon to new moon. Each of the four lunar phases is roughly 7 days each. After New Moon, the sunlit portion increases, but is less than half, so it is waxing crescent. After the first quarter, the sunlit portion is still increasing, but it is more than half, so it is waxing gibbous. After the Full Moon the light continually decreases. So the waning gibbous phase occurs next. Following the third quarter is the waning crescent, which wanes until the light is completely gone.

Moon Quarters
Moon phases are divided into four quarters. The first and third quarter moons happen when the Moon is at a 90° angle to the Earth and Sun and we see a half Moon. New Moon occurs when it is between the Earth and Sun. Full Moon occurs when the Earth is in between the Moon and the Sun.

Mooring
A permanent structure (quays, wharfs, jetties, piers, anchor buoys) to which a boat is secured to prevent movement on the water.

Moraine
Moraines are formed from debris carried by glaciers and consist of rounded particles, from boulders to minute glacial flour. Lateral moraines are formed at the side of the ice flow and terminal moraines at the foot, marking the maximum advance of the glacier.

Morpheus
God of dreams and sleep in Greek mythology.

Mors
Personification of death in Roman mythology.

Morse Code
Communications code where a combination of dots and dashes signify individual characters and numerals. Can be transmitted through sound or light.

Mosquito
Bloodsucking insects that pierce the skin with their proboscis. The loss of blood through mosquito bites is not so much of a problem, but they often carry and transmit germs when they pierce the skin resulting in infections like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, etc.

Motion Sickness
Nausea caused by travelling in aircraft, ship, life raft, etc due to the conflicting signals sent by the eye (of stillness) and the ear (of movement).

Mountain Biking
Riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed bikes. Categorised as cross country, trail riding, enduro, downhill, freeride and dirt jumping. Requires endurance, core strength, balance, bike handling skills and self-reliance.

Mountainboarding
A relatively little-known action sport, it is like snowboarding. and can be experienced on tracks, slopes, grass hills, woodlands, gravel tracks, streets, skateparks, ski resorts, BMX courses and mountain bike trails.

Mountaineering
Sport of mountain climbing. Hiking in the mountains can also be termed a simple form of mountaineering when it involves scrambling, or short stretches of the more basic grades of rock climbing, as well as crossing glaciers.

MRE
Meals Ready To Eat.

MROD
Manual Reverse Osmosis Desalinator.

MSG
Morse Code abbreviation meaning “Message”

Mudpack
For an adventurer, covering oneself with mud results in forming a protective layer around the skin to prevent insect bites.

Mudslide
During heavy rains water gets mixed with mud and clay and starts flowing creating a mudslide or a mudflow. It can also be caused by heavy rain and soil erosion on a mountainside and can take away entire villages and towns.

Mukluk
Soft boots made of reindeer skin or sealskin and originally worn by the aboriginal people of the Arctic, including the Inuit and Yupik. The term mukluk is often used for any soft boot designed for cold weather. They are lightweight and allow for stealth while hunting.

Multitasking
The process of using equipment for purposes they were not originally manufactured for.

Multitool
A gadget that encompasses several different tools within one unit that fold into the handle. Multiools by Victorinox, Leatherman, Gerber, Coleman, etc are the more popular ones.

Mummy Bag
A sleeping bag tapered at the ends to reduce air space and conserve heat.

Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
In a military context, it refers to a nuclear war between two or more opponents resulting in the complete annihilation of all parties concerned.

Myctophobia
Fear of darkness. Also called Lygophobia.

Mylar Blanket
Or a Space Blanket is a low-weight, low-bulk blanket made of a heat-reflective thin plastic sheet. It reduces body heat loss from radiation, evaporation, convection, etc. The metallic surface can be used as a very large signalling mirror.

Myocardial Infarction (MI)
Commonly known as a heart attack. It occurs when blood flow decreases or stops to a part of the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle. The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. Often it is in the center or left side of the chest and lasts for more than a few minutes. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint, a cold sweat, or feeling tired. It may cause heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, cardiogenic shock, or cardiac arrest. Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol intake, among others. Treatment is time critical.

Myrmecophobia
An irrational fear of ants.


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  1. wilderness survival kit canada

    The term “survival kit” may also refer to the larger, transportable survival kits ready by survivalists , known as “bug-out bags” (BOBs), “Individual Emergency Relocation Kits” (PERKs) or “get out of Dodge” (Good) kits, which are packed into backpacks, or even duffel bags. These kits are developed especially to be more simply carried by the person in case alternate forms of transportation are unavailable or impossible to use.

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